New York State reported its "safest-ever" hunting season.

On Tuesday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that the 2021 hunting seasons in New York were the safest ever, with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since record-keeping began.

"Hunting is an enjoyable and safe form of outdoor recreation with a long and storied history in New York State," Seggos said. "This past year was the safest-ever on record in New York, with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since DEC's Hunter Education Program began in 1949."

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECO) investigated nine hunting-related shooting incidents in 2021, including one fatality.

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"Every hunting fatality is preventable when New Yorkers hunt safely and responsibly," Seggos added.

The DEC didn't go into more details about the hunting fatality.

Seven of the nine HRSIs that occurred in 2021 were two-party firearm incidents; two incidents were self-inflicted, officials say.

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All identified shooters were experienced hunters with an average of 40 years of hunting experience, emphasizing the need for all hunters to remain vigilant when heading afield.

All incidents could have been prevented if those involved followed hunting safety rules, according to the DEC.

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DEC encourages hunters to remember the primary rules of hunter safety:

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  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded;
  • Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction;
  • Identify your target and what lies beyond;
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and
  • Wear hunter orange or pink.
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Most tree stand incidents are preventable when hunters follow the "ABCs" of tree stand safety:

  • Always inspect the tree stand before every use;
  • Buckle full body harness securely every time; and
  • Connect to the tree before your feet leave the ground.

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